GIFa have become an important part of how we communicate with others, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. While apps like Facebook Messenger have built-in GIF support, though, the stock Android keyboard has so far lagged behind a little. Not anymore!
Google has added a feature to the Android 7.1 keyboard that enables you to search for GIFs, and it even remembers the ones that you’ve used so you can quickly access them at a moment’s notice. Unfortunately the feature is a little buried, but once you learn how to get to it, it should be easier the next time.
To access the GIF keyboard, you’ll first need to hit the smiley face button in the Google Keyboard, after which you’ll find a GIF button along the bottom of the keyboard. Tap that, and you’ll be able to search through GIFs, and you’ll see a “frequently used” button that will show you the GIFs you use regularly — that can be pretty useful when you have a selection of your favorite GIFs.
Unfortunately, the feature is currently only available if you have Android 7.1 installed, which is only available on the Nexus 5X, Nexus 6P, Pixel C, or the new Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones. Thankfully, Android 7.1 should be coming to more phones in the near future, so you should be able to access millions of GIFs in short order. It also seems as though the keyboard is only available in the Messenger app right now — we couldn’t access the feature on other apps, like Gmail, however the new feature may be made available to those apps soon.
The GIFs searchable in the keyboard seem to be sourced from a range of different websites — upon quickly checking out the keyboard for ourselves, we saw GIFs from Giphy, Tumblr, and Riffsy.